How to fix Goal Conversion Irregularities in Google Analytics

In this article, I am going to talk about how to fix goal conversion irregularities in Google Analytics.

Sometimes when you configure goals in Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) you notice that it is not working. 

If you are stuck and do not know how to fix such irregularities then let’s take a look at possible reasons why goals are not working and how to fix them.

There could be multiple reasons if your goals are not working and based on that you can try to fix them. Here are a few of the reasons.

  1. Incorrect goal URL
  2. Missing analytics tracking code on the goal page
  3. Incorrect match type
  4. Exact Match errors
  5. Regular expression errors
  6. Filters are rewriting the URLs
  7. Your goal page is a download

#1. Incorrect goal URL

If you have set up your goal completion on landing a specific page, you may have entered the incorrect URL in the goal and that may be the reason your goal is not working.

You can check if the goal URL is incorrect. Copy the URL that you have entered in the goal URL field and then try searching for the same page in the Pages report.

Another thing could be adding a domain name in the goal URL because Google Analytics ignores the domain name entirely. 

So for example, if your goal is “http://www.example.com/thanks.html”, you can safely use “/thanks.html” as your goal URL. 

Be very specific when choosing conditions while defining the goal URL and it is best advised to mark case sensitive checkbox.

Goals destination

If you are using regex in defining the goal URL field, you need to escape periods with a backslash. 

For example “/thanks\.html” You can learn more about regex here Regex Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager – Tutorial

#2. Missing analytics tracking code on the goal page

Make sure that you have tracked the goal page URL with the proper Google Analytics tracking code. If the tracking code is missing on the goal page, Google Analytics won’t track this page and hence no goal will be recorded.

You can use Google Tag Assistant to check if the goal page is tracked or not. If there are any other errors on the page you can try fixing them. 

Here is the best way to find Google Analytics not working? Here are 21 ways to fix it

#3. Incorrect match type

Google Analytics uses three different types of match types which allows Google Analytics to identify a URL for a goal or funnel. These match types are “Equals to”, “Begins with”, and “Regular Expression Match”. 

If you are using the “Equals to” match type then Google Analytics will match every single character in the goal URL. 

For example, if you set up a goal for “/shopping/thanks.html” any whitespaces at the beginning or trailing like “ /shopping/thanks.html  ” invalidate the goal and it will not be recorded. 

Use this match type to set goals only when URLs for your site are easy to read and do not vary.

The following images will provide more clarity on this.

correct option
incorrect option

If you are using match type as “Begins with” for goal URL, Google Analytics will match the identical characters starting from the beginning of the string up to and including the last character in the string you specify. You can use this option only if you have to eliminate trailing URL parameters. 

For example, if your goal page URL has query parameters such as “http://www.example.com/thankyou?page=transaction&id=1234”. 

So your every transaction page will have a separate transaction id. 

Here you can use “Begins with” and the goal URL field you can use “/thankyou?page=transaction

begins with

#4. Regular expression errors

Regular expressions, also called regex, are a set of characters that help you to find specific data in a data set. They are a very powerful tool to find and match data while applying a specific set of conditions. 

An incorrect regular expression may lead to zero goal completion or incomplete goal completion.

As an example, you can create one goal that matches multiple pages. 

Suppose that after doing a transaction, or generating a lead, your user redirects to a thank you page and that every user has a unique thank you page URL like “/product/thank-you/” and “product2/thank-you/”.

In this case, we can create one goal in Google Analytics for every thank-you page as below:

Destination URL matches regex “thank\-you\/$

To verify the regex that you have created, you can use the same regex in the page’s report search box. If it returns the number of pages, you can assume that the same regex can be used in the goal URL field as well. If it does not return its value that means there are some errors in the regex.

#5. Filters are rewriting the URLs

If you are using Google Analytics filters to rewrite the URLs, make sure to put the same modified URL in the goal URL field. Make note that filters that rewrite the URL are applied to the raw data that comes in your Analytics view. 

Goals are processed later once URL rewriting is done by the filter. In such scenarios, the goal will not be recorded if you use the actual website URL. The goal URL field must contain the final, rewritten format of the URL. 

For example: 

If your site’s URL, “http://www.example.com/category/download/file.html”, is modified by a filter to look like “/download/file”.

In this case, your goal should match the final filtered URL of “/download/file” and not “/category/download/file.html”.

#6. Your goal page is a download

If you set up your goal on download and if you put the goal URL which ends with “.pdf”, “.text” and “.word” etc. your goal will not be recorded because Analytics does not track downloads as goals directly. 

In such cases, you can fire a download event and then mark it as a goal.

download

Here you can leave the “Label” and the “Value” fields blank. Google Analytics will record the goal only on the first two fields. To know more about event tracking, you can visit Google Analytics Event Tracking Tutorial.

#7. Using GTM variable in defining the goals

Sometimes this happens when we use GTM variables in defining the goals. In such cases, the goal will not be recorded. Google Analytics goals are defined based on the output values of the fields and not by using the GTM variables.

gtm variable

Frequently asked questions about how to fix goal conversion irregularities in Google Analytics

Why are Google analytics goals not working?

There could be multiple reasons if your goals are not working and based on that you can try to fix them. Here are a few of the reasons.

1. Incorrect goal URL
2. Missing analytics tracking code on the goal page
3. Incorrect match type
4. Exact Match errors
5. Regular expression errors
6. Filters are rewriting the URLs
7. Your goal page is a download

How long does it take for Google Analytics goals to work?

When you configure the goals in Google Analytics, You won’t be able to see them instantly in conversion reports because Google Analytics standard reports are not real-time. It takes some time to process the data. It can take up to 24 to 48 hours of time to process and show up in the conversion reports.

How many goals can be created in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics goals are limited to 20 per reporting view. If you want to track more goals you can create an additional view for that particular property and then create goals. Another way is to edit an existing goal that you don’t need anymore.

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